You Are Not Too Busy To Reclaim Your Life From Food
In eating psychology, we know the importance of taking time to eat, chewing slowly, reducing stress so we do not have to turn to food to manage that stress and generally being more aware with food and life.
But what happens when you have a massively busy day? When your to do list is inescapable and you have to somehow wrangle your way through the day? When getting that report done or sorting your friend’s leaving do, not food, is the most important thing?
This page gives you some practical ideas about reclaiming your life from food in the real world.
Imperfection Is The Key
We start by accepting that some days will be crazy. You have to do more than you should. Life happens.
However there is more you can do to minimise your chaotic eating at such times than you think. ‘Life happens’ is not an excuse to turn to junk.
What I have noticed in myself in the past and in clients is that not menu planning and being too busy to cook can be a backdoor free pass to eat compulsively: Oh look, I forgot to cook and now I am starving. I better have a cheese sandwich or I will go crazy with hunger.
Planning Ahead For Busy Days
Here is where you can make the most headway. Whether they are planned or just come out of the blue, busy days are part if life.
You can make sure you have some pre prepared food in the freezer to get out for these days.
Sugar free chocolate cake. See https://www.theshiftinside.com/ffs-replacements/
Smoothies - great if you are so busy you just cannot face eating.
What else can you think of?
This will involve batch cooking. What regular time can you set aside once a week to batch cook for busy days? Make it a fun event with a good podcast or audiobook to listen to.
What can you prepare the night before?
If you feel resistance to the effort required to batch cook, then bribe yourself with a reward. See strategy #1 on this page for ideas:
Quick Food - Storecupboard Staples
Always have some storecupboard staples on hand so you can make nutritious and filling fast food.
Here is what I always have in my kitchen:
Wholewheat noodles (these can be hard to find, so just get white ones otherwise). They take 3 minutes to cook.
Nuts - cashews and pine nuts are my favourites (not cheap I know, but you do not need many. Over time, definitely cheaper than buying junk day in day out)
Soya beans or edamame beans which I have found in the frozen section at the supermarket. Taste boring but I love these with noodles and humous or a bit of feta and olives.
I have recently discovered that I can make a five minute smoothie, avoiding the cooking process in the recipe above. I replace pears with strawberries or frozen mango.
Breakfast is Key
The easiest meal to do well on a busy day is breakfast. You can have any of the above or do an omlette or...
...a little more time consuming is a stir fry, but make it the night before. I take a pack of tofu, cut half of it into blocks, brush them with soy sauce and olive oil , and bake for 45 min.
Then stir fry with my fave veggies and nuts and pesto.
All of the advice above will be easier to implement if you have a regular meal planning practice.
We can discuss this is further sessions.
Enlist Your Inner Rebel
Your inner rebel can help you here. S/he is going to help you stand up to the cultural pressure to do more, be more, work too long hours, say yes to the boss, seek perfection. Do you say yes too much? Do you try to do too much?
I guarantee that there are ways you can reclaim time at least in your home life, and probably at work. Food was never designed to be a source of fake energy/comfort to help you cope with the demands of your job or do the work of two adults in your home.
Question: If the doctor told you you absolutely had to reduce your load at work or home (or elsewhere, say with overdemanding friends) by 20%, what changes would you make?
Eating well when you are busy is not about answeing this question
Do I have time to eat perfectly?
It is about answering these questions:
Am I willing to organise myself to eat as well as I can?
Am I willing to say no more?